A new comer to the Houston food scene, Soup Cowboy offers high quality rustic soups and sandwiches to the downtown lunch crowd out of there location in the Pennzoil building’s food court.
Though the concept may sound simple, the flavors are anything but. Armed with juicy brined turkey breast sandwiches and hearty beef and bean stew, Soup Cowboy is not your everyday soup and sandwich shop.
Chef Jake Ellis, an Art Institute of Houston grad, heads the kitchen with his years of experience in the industry and has written an impressive menu with well over fifty different soups that are rotated throughout the seasons.
When you first walk into the store, you will find an ice cream parlor-like arraignment of freshly prepared soups with flavors like the Cowboy Beef and Bean and Cream of Poblano. If you find yourself having a hard time choosing which soup you would like the staff is more than welcome to provide you with a sample.
Though the soups look great, don’t forget about the sandwiches, the first item that caught my eye was the Jalapeño sausage sandwich and I had to get some Cilantro Aioli then there was the Brined Roasted Turkey Breast which I got on ciabatta.
If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, there is an assortment of homemade cookies ranging from Triple Chocolate Ganache to Salted gooey Caramel, needless to say but these are clearly not your everyday chocolate chip cookies.
My first impression of the Cowboy Beef and Bean was that it is a light yet very hearty soup, something a person could fill up on during their lunch break but wouldn’t be slowed down while trying to go back to work.
Let me just say this about the Poblano soup, I had planned to share this with my wife and I ended up getting swatted away when I tried getting a second spoon full, it is that good. A buttery and spicy cream soup that packs an immense amount of taste, you will be licking the bottom of the bowl when you run out of bread to soak up the last drops of this soup.
I must be honest, I had my doubts about the turkey sandwich on ciabatta, with no sauce I was at the mercy of the how much moisture the turkey had and if the ciabatta was going to overwhelm the sandwich and drown out the flavor of the meat. To my surprise the turkey was great, like a thanksgiving leftover sandwich, the brining process help the turkey hold in some of that moisture and gave it an added flavor while the ciabatta was not overbearing but a great platform for the whole sandwich.
Then there was the Jalapeño Sausage sandwich with cilantro aioli, by far one of my favorites out of the whole experience. One thing I cannot stand is eating something with Jalapeños in it and all I can taste is the heat, the sausage has a nice balance allowing you to feel that heat but it stays in the background so you are able to taste and appreciate all the other aspects of the sausage and the sandwich. I had only got a half sandwich, by the time I had finished it I knew I should have asked for a whole. The aioli was awesome, it was so rich it almost seemed like cilantro butter; my only complaint is that they don’t put enough of it on the sandwich.
Finally we come to the cookies, made from scratch in-house at Soup Cowboy. If a chocolate cake and a brownie had a baby they would call it the Triple Chocolate Ganache, a messiah to Chocolate lovers everywhere. With the consistency of a cake but the “gooeyness” of a brownie this cookie stands alone, and I am not even that big on chocolate to begin with.
The Salted Caramel cookie, my mouth salivates just saying it, while the name alone is enough to draw you in. By combining the gooey texture of caramel and encasing it in cookie dough then finishing it off with sea salt to enhance the flavor of the caramel through contrast, if only I had the foresight to purchase more than just one and some milk. So far, it is my favorite item that they have on the menu.
While the phrase “Chain Restaurant” is synonymous with pictures of monotony and unoriginality, it is establishments such as Soup Cowboy that are slowly but surely changing that image.
The closer the Chef is and how much passion he gives to the food, the better the final product will be in the end when it gets to the diner. With a standard of nothing being served more than once, customers can rest assure that their soup is always fresh and any soups left over are donated to local soup kitchens around the city. Though the only location can be found in the downtown area, Soup Cowboy plans to open up more locations throughout the Houston.